College Football Picks Week 9: Auburn vs. LSU Predictions
Auburn Tigers at LSU Tigers, Saturday October 26, 3:30 p.m. ET
Another week, another huge SEC contest with major national implications . Nothing new in that. LSU is currently ranked No. 2, and a win here would give them major momentum heading into a bye and then a game at Alabama that will define their season. Auburn already has a loss, so another here would be fatal to any major aspirations. Their backs are against the wall. Last year's matchup between these rivals was a classic, with LSU coming out on top 22-21. But now we have one new quarterback, and one who is a whole new guy this year. If you liked last year's game, then there is a good chance that you are going to love this one.
Auburn at LSU Betting Storylines
Let's talk about Joe Burrow for a second. This is unlike anything I remember. Last year he was a redshirt junior and a first-year full-time starter. And he was pretty ordinary. A pedestrian 57.8 percent completion rate, and numbers that didn't generally jump off the page. He was just a guy. Now, all of a sudden, he is the +125 favorite to win the Heisman. His completion rate has jumped by more than 20 points to a gaudy 78.4. He has 29 touchdown passes in just seven games, compared to 16 in 13 games last year. Last year he wasn't much more than a placeholder. Now he's a superstar. Are we sure someone didn't kidnap him and replace him with a robot? And he's up against a defense that isn't much this year, especially against the pass, where they rank just 68th nationally. There is a very good chance that Burrow is going to have another solid day. More than solid, perhaps. He hasn't had an off day yet, so there is no point in betting on it happening here.
So, LSU has the No. 2 passing offense in the country and is against a defense that won't be rigid. So Auburn is going to have to be able to move the ball as well to keep things interesting. And that's a bit more of a concern. As a long-term concern, freshman QB Bo Nix is a very good thing. He's going to be good. But he isn't good just yet. Not consistently so. In his biggest career game, at Florida, the game proved to be too much for him. He was just 11 of 27, throwing a touchdown and three picks. And he was picked off twice against Oregon, too. His numbers have been inflated by the weaker teams he has played, and they still aren't great. He's very much a work in progress. The LSU pass defense isn't great, but that isn't going to be enough to even out this passing contest. The pressure is going to be on the running game here for Auburn, which is more challenging because lead back JaTarvious Whitlow remains out due to injury. And LSU's pass defense ranks 12 nationally, allowing just 94.6 yards per game. You aren't going to win this game if you can't score, and it isn't entirely obvious how Auburn will keep up on that front.
Auburn at LSU Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with LSU favored by as many as 12 points. That has now settled at 10.5 after early betting action. About 60 percent of bets have been on LSU, so the line movement suggests that some sharp action has been focused on Auburn. The total opened at 58.5 and has climbed only slightly to 59.
Auburn is 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall and 5-1 ATS in their last six games played on grass but just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games against teams with winning home records. LSU is 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games in October and 13-4 ATS in their last 17 conference games. The home team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings, and the underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last seven.
Auburn at LSU Predictions and Picks
I don't trust Auburn's coaching or their quarterback play, and I haven't seen enough from them yet to believe in them in a real way in the short term. LSU feels like a team that is playing a little beyond themselves this year, but the offense is rolling, and it matches up well against this defense. Auburn lost by 11 at Florida, and LSU is a much better team than Florida overall, so I am comfortable giving up the points here - especially given how it has been moving. LSU is the pick.
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